2011 In Review

2011 was definitely the Year of Career for me.  While meeting my other goals just seemed like a slow slog to the finish line, I felt genuinely challenged by my work. I worked enough overtime hours to fill an extra month (I’m calling it Smarch), I killed it on my first big project, and I’ve gotten rave reviews from my supervisors and coworkers.

In 2012, I think I’d like to set some more goals that will inspire me outside of work, similar to StackingPennies’ decision to focus only on goals she really cares about.  I’ll still set my financial goals, but I expect them to take a backseat to the things I really want to accomplish.

At any rate, I definitely did well on my goals this year.  I failed on the same sorts of goals I’ve always failed on (*ahem* blogging 2x per week), and did better than expected on some others.  Financially we’re doing well, even as the stock market eats up our retirement contributions.  As for everything else, the full list of goals is reviewed below:


1. Max out all retirement accounts. Done!
Pretty self-explanatory.

2. Save $25,000 in cash. Done!
We managed to meet (and exceed! slightly!) this goal despite the fact that Chad left his soul-sucking job midway through the year.  We were helped along by a sizable tax refund (I never know how much to withhold since Chad’s employment status has been so up in the air) and the fact that I worked over 200 hours of overtime.  These 2 things combined were enough to make up for the stipend Chad would have gotten if he’d stayed in the lab.

Technically, we cheated a little on this goal since Chad paid for a semester of school out of what I call his “secret savings account,” so in terms of actual money, we saved a little less.  Still, I don’t track his secret savings, and it’s partially made up of money set aside by his parents for grad school, so who knows what’s fair.

Around $2000 extra going to a travel fund to pay for our Ireland trip in 2012.

3. Earn at least $5,000 in overtime this year. Done!
I earned more than double this amount.  I will also never set this goal again – I ended up piling on overtime early in the year and getting sort of burnt out.  I met this goal by April or May, and then the rest of the year was so busy that I ended up working even more.  Overtime pay is not worth my sanity!

4. Stay within my budget on personal spending. Done!
If you remember, I settled on $200 per month plus a birthday “bonus” of $200. I ended up with about $350 left over, which is just enough to get Chad the Christmas present he wants.  A big portion of this money was spent on clothes, with books and music taking up a larger percentage after I got my Nook and my iPhone. 

In all honestly, this amount felt positively decadent, so it doesn’t feel like a huge accomplishment to have stayed within it.

Health & Fitness

1. Work out 4x per week. Mostly!
I managed to be fairly consistent with this, even through crazy work schedules.  No, I didn’t make it every week, but I’m calling it close enough.  This goal will definitely be repeated in 2012!

2. Keep a food journal on weekdays. Done!
How helpful was this?  Well, it certainly worked well to shame me after the fact.  It didn’t really work to keep me from eating things, though.  I think I’ll continue to track, since it has become a habit (I made a spreadsheet at work!), but I think some other healthy eating goals would work better.

3. Eat lunch with my coworkers one or twice per week. Fail.
This goal completely fell apart by… February.  I worked crazy schedules, but that’s not really the reason – mostly I forgot that I had even made this a goal.  Since I moved offices, I now spend plenty of time being social, and I need to work over lunch to make up for that wasted time!

4. Lose that pesky extra weight. Maybe?
I’m down about 3 pounds.  Does that count?

5. Cook more. Fail.
I had a few good months, but it’s so easy to slip back into the old habit where Chad cooks and I… sit on my ass and read blogs.  Yeah, epic fail.


1. Wear everything in my closet before buying any new clothes. Done!
I liked this goal so much that I’m going to repeat it in 2012.  It took me nearly THREE MONTHS to complete this goal in 2011, and while there were some pajama-only weekends and outfit repeats sprinkled in there, that’s an insane amount of clothes.  It also helped me be a little more strategic about my shopping, and really opened my eyes to how overstuffed my closet truly is.  It definitely spurred my closet cleanout, where I removed 5 trash bags full of clothes from my closet and didn’t feel a dent.

2. Blog at least 2x per week. FAIL.
I published 52 posts this year, which is an average of 1x per week.  Yep, worst blogger ever.

3. Make our apartment like a place real people live. Close enough!
Our apartment looks pretty good right now.  No, it’s not like the homes I’ve tagged on Pinterest – Chad always has to remind me that I can get an unnecessary drafting table once we buy a house.  Still, we made enough little tweaks that I’ve started to really like how everything turned out.  Which probably means that we’ll move in 6 months.

4. Stop cursing so much. Done!
Most of the people at work were surprised that this was on my list (remember – I’d asked them to police me if I dropped an F-bomb).  It wasn’t as though I was cursing in meetings or at inappropriate times, just that I think curse words are hilarious and add some extra oomph to social conversations.  At any rate, just being aware that I was doing it made the occurrences dwindle, and it has also bled into my life outside of work.  Even my football vocabulary has changed: now I mostly just chant “You suck. You suck. You suck.” instead of using the more colorful vocabulary I’ve been known for.

5. Read 50 books. Done!
Thanks to the Nook I got as a birthday present, I finished 85 books this year! No, it’s not like I was reading the classics, but still an accomplishment given that I’ve struggled in the past to reach 50.

6. Kick ass at work. Done!
I totally did.  Not only did I get the highest rating possible on my year-end review, but my West Coast mentor told me I deserved an early promotion.  Not sure The Powers That Be will agree with him, but it was high praise.  When I was asking around about that other job, several of the higher-ups I spoke to for guidance told me that I was one of our program’s rising stars.  For someone who has struggled with Imposter Syndrome for what feels like forever, that was awesome.

How did you do on your goals this year?

4 Responses

  1. Wow, you did a lot in 2011! I am inspired by your “Wear everything in your closet before shopping” goal! I may have to implement that this year. Congrats also on the savings and professional accomplishments! This whole post speaks of hard work. 🙂

    • Thanks!

      I highly recommend that wear-everything goal. It’s really frustrating, but also very helpful as a way to characterize your wardrobe and what you actually need to be shopping for.

  2. Thanks for the link back! It sounds like you had a great 2011!

    any decision on if you want to pursue that other job?

    • I didn’t even apply. I talked to a couple of P6s who had insight into the hiring process, and they very quickly talked me out of it! It was a very non-technical position, and that’s not what I wanted!

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